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Review: Adams XTD Forged Irons

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Pros: A forged blade-type iron with a little bit of a size advantage for extra forgiveness. Tungsten weighting offers excellent feel, and the presence of KBS C-Taper shafts and Iomic grips as standard options reinforces the XTD Forged’s status as a “player’s iron.”

Cons: All the highfalutin standard features do make a set pretty pricy ($1100 MSRP). Also, the irons are in a middle ground between “player’s blade” and “player’s cavity back,” which might be awkward to some.

Bottom Line: The XTD Forged irons hit the forged iron “sweet spot” splendidly, combining the workability and feel of blades with the enhanced forgiveness of cavity backs, thanks to the Cut-Thru Slot.

Overview

Adams Golf has long been regarded as principally a maker of good hybrids and fairway woods, from the original Tight Lies on down to 2014’s brand-new PRO hybrid, but they are coming up in the world in terms of drivers (more on that here) and, yes, irons.

Enter the XTD Forged irons, which blend the traditional size, shape and feel of blade and “player’s cavity back” irons with the more technology-forward trend that has emerged in the last couple years of golf equipment development. Adams took the basic head shape and thickness of a blade, enlarged it somewhat and added the two recognizable technological features: tungsten weighting and what Adams calls a “Cut-Thru Slot.”

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The general idea of the Cut-Thru Slot is that that space just behind the clubface — be it for a driver, fairway wood, hybrid or iron — creates a “floating face,” which enlarges the sweet spot, even on a traditionally less-forgiving sort of club such as a forged iron. The feature also helps lower the center of gravity, which produces higher-launching shots that generally do not suffer from runaway spin numbers.

The aforementioned tungsten weights also sit on the sole of the XTD Forged irons and work together with the Cut-Thru Slot to optimize each iron’s center of gravity which, once again, helps produce desirable launch and ball speed.

adams golf irons 2014

Adams XTD 4 iron pictured above

It should also be noted that the XTD Irons ($1099) come standard with the popular KBS C-Taper shafts and high-end Iomic grips. The irons are also available with Aldila’s RIP Tour 115-gram graphite shafts in R, S and X flexes for $1199.

For no upcharge, golfers can add Adams’ popular Dhy 3 or 4 hybrids, which can be substituted in the place of an XTD Forged 3 or 4 iron.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.56.40 PM

See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums.

Performance

There is palpable synergy among all facets of the XTD Forged irons. As a result, they constitute a set ideally suited to a player who may have reservations about playing “true blades” but still wants as much of the two best features of blades as possible: clear feel on different qualities of contact and wide shotmaking potential. High draws, low fades and all shots in between can be coaxed out of these irons by the skilled player.

adams xtd forgedadams xtd forged iron 2014adams xtd ironsadams xtd forged 2014

Click the images above to enlarge

Shots produced by the irons pass the eye test handily: I noticed somewhat higher launch and good, stable ball flight when hitting shots with them both on the range and on the course. Even the long irons, when struck solidly, held firm greens. If I needed to hit a punch shot, the irons were equal to the task.

The good aesthetics of shots I hit with these irons was, happily, confirmed by the numbers they produced when I tested them on a launch monitor at Myrtle Beach’s PGA Tour Superstore location:

Ball speed / launch angle / spin rate / distance

8 iron: 111 mph / 19.4 deg / 7,055 rpm / 159 yds

5 iron: 126 mph / 12.2 deg / 4851 rpm / 200 yds

The Cut-Thru Slot and tungsten weighting in these irons were especially noticeable on shots with the longer irons. Slight misses on the heel and toe yielded little in the way of lost distance, as did shots where I made slightly thin contact.

adams xtd forged irons

Photo above is a raw XTD head showing the multi piece construction with floating face and tungsten inserts to lower the center of gravity. 

See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums

Looks and Feel

Many club manufacturers stay very traditional when it comes to forged cavity back and blade irons. But seeing as Adams put a bit more technology into XTD Forged series, they are decidedly more modern looking. This is not to say they are gaudy or ugly, but they will certainly never be confused with your dad’s old Hogan Apexes or Wilson Button Backs.

For starters, the clubhead has a somewhat matte finish, where most players’ irons — blades and cavity backs — tend to have chrome or satin finishes. The C-Taper shafts echo the look of the heads: matte steel rather than chrome or satin, which is modern and stylish without being ostentatious.

adams XTD forged iron review

The XTD Forged clubheads are a little larger than those of many other irons in its peer group, but not so much so that they look boxy. Their amount of offset is closer to that of forged cavity back irons than true blades. The topline is thicker than one would expect from a true blade, but again, certainly not more so than most forged cavity back irons.

adams XTD Forged iron

The top lines of the XTD Forged irons strikes a balance between thin and thick.

Feel-wise, there are no negative surprises with the XTD Forged irons. If you hit a shot solid, you will know it and you will love it. If not, well, that’s forged irons for you. Good players would not have it any other way; feedback in irons is important, after all. These irons will not unduly muffle contact on any part of the face. If you love the sensation and slightly higher-pitched “click” of contact with forged irons, you will enjoy the XTD Forged.

Adams XTD forged iron reviewadams golf 2014 ironsadams golf forged irons 2014adams golf forged iron

The Takeaway

With the XTD Forged irons, Adams continues to establish itself as a major player in the irons category for lower handicappers. If you want to reap the agreed-upon benefits of forged irons — trim clubheads, easily discernible feel, shot workability — but are not ready to take the plunge into full-on blades, these irons deserve your serious consideration.

Adams XTD forged iron review

The XTD Forged irons come standard with one of the most popular steel shafts in golf, as well as high-end Iomic grips, which contribute to a higher price tag. However, the harmony of those big-ticket features produces a product that is worth a higher tariff for the ambitious golfer.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://adamsgolf.com/XTD-Forged-irons/DW-AL287.html” oemtext=”Learn more from Adams Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FXLF84E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FXLF84E&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=XWOVYECUFUPPBDZA”]

See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Nathan

    Oct 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Well my 8 iron is 155m that is 170 yards for all you lady swingers.

  2. Pingback: Adams Golf Xtd Forged Iron Set - Seguin Valley Golf Club

  3. paul

    Nov 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Had thse for about 2 weeks, all i can say is awesome. They are sneaky long and have pushed my PW from 125 to 136 ! In fact Ive struggled clubbing due to the extra distance …Wow… Pricey I know but with Tour C-Taper shafts as standard you cant go wrong. Adams are onto a winner here but they are hard to get in he UK, if they had more PR the better players would love these> Ive had them all, Ping, TM, Titleist and Vega but these are the best….Highly recommended

  4. John

    Nov 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I have been gaming these for approx.4 months and must saw that they really do live up to my expectations. They are a little forgiving but let you know when you get it wrong. That said they are accurate and consistent shot after shot and pretty easy to shape into pins. I can hit high and low, left and right with little difficulty. I do not understand why TM have BURIED this other than to focus on their own models – that must be it. Cant help but think that the new RSi’s have more in common with Adams than TM

  5. Travis

    Sep 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I bought a set and changed out the shafts with a higher trajectory XP95. I took these to Dicks today and had a go on the simulator. The farthest I could get the 5i straight was 220, 6i 193, 7i 189. I turned around and said to the employee, really how much do you plus up the numbers so you sell clubs? I’ve never hit irons this long. I’ll hit the course later this week. I can say this…the actual iron head is heavy. I mean heavier than any other forged iron I have. I got a decent deal on ebay for 700 bucks or so.

    • brian

      Sep 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      I’ve been eyeing these for quite some time. Get back to us with the results once you have a chance to take them to the course. it would be much appreciated.

  6. Jase

    Aug 19, 2014 at 3:33 am

    TM messed up a good thing. Adams peaked with the CMBs, now they are in a oversize, offset, wasteland of players clubs. No one that buys in this market is looking for a clunker with more offset. Thanks industry for fixing something that wasn’t broke.

  7. ryan

    Apr 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I tested these last week. I really liked the feel. 6i avg. 164 carry w/4692 spin rate. 114 ball speed at 15.7 launch angle. Also tested Mizuno JPX 825 pro, Taylor TP, Ping I25, Ping Anser, and XTD CC. These were the most consistent for me. 10-12 handicap.

  8. Kev

    Mar 26, 2014 at 3:32 am

    really 8 iron 159yds ! I’d be on tour if I hit irons that far

    • paul

      Mar 31, 2014 at 2:10 am

      160 for an 8 iron is not unusual. I have only a 100mph driver swing speed and My distance is 145-150 (not a strong loft on my 8i either). If someone swings at 110 they will be around 160 with an 8.

      • milo

        Jun 22, 2014 at 5:47 am

        If someone swings at 110 with an 8 iron then i would expect nearer to 200 yards! 110 would be the ball speed not swing speed.

      • Brian Delorme

        Jul 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm

        I’m around 96-98 MPH with an 8 iron. Hitting my 8 160 on a smooth swing. And to rip it 165 (but may suffer the hook on a full tilt rip) it’s all compression. I notice yardage difference even from ProV1 to ProV1X……

    • Brandon

      Apr 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

      My standard 8 iron at sea level is 163yds with misunderstood mp 57. Tour players don’t hit it that long.

  9. MT

    Mar 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    The obsession by TM to add a slot to everything ruined the feel of these heads.

    • Martin

      Mar 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

      I absolutely agree. I hate the feel of the Taylormade irons with the slots in the heads. They go farther, but the feel is horrible. I was afraid this would happen.

      • Dave

        Mar 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Glad I bought CMBs when I could.

        • Kev

          Mar 26, 2014 at 3:31 am

          Yep me too waited 2 years and got a brand new set at silly money, makes you woneder how they start off such a high price tag

    • Dan

      May 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      It was actually Adams technology from the getgo…Taylormade bought the company prior to a lawsuit over this slot technology. They said with their purchase that adams had to wait a year to put these irons out while Taylor put out the RBZ irons.

  10. Tom Duckworth

    Mar 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I wonder if these launch much like the Speedblades? Kind of reminds me of a CMB with a cut-thu slot. I hope TM lets Adams keep on being themselves.

  11. The dude

    Mar 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Are those distances off TM on carry?…..with your driver CHS…hitting an 8 iron 159 seems high

    • Chris

      Apr 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      I hit my 7 iron 150, and I’m 56 yrs old and a 25 handicap, so I don’t agree with all the doubters regarding the distance of that 8 iron.

  12. LorenRobertsFan

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Another 4.5? Guess everything is good!

    Wish they weren’t so expensive, even through PUD. Seen slightly used sets on the BST for <$600

  13. Evan

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I really wanted to love these considering the stock shafts/grips and the club is beautiful. Of the 2014 players offerings I hit these the shortest and the least consistent. I think the shaft is too much for me to handle, would love to try with the graphite offering but they did not have that option to test neat me.

    • paul

      Mar 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I swing driver between 100-105 mph, and I found the regular flex ctaper was a better fit then stiff. I play titleist 710 CBs, and these felt better and went a few more yards I found. Loved em. I would sell my irons right now and buy these but I just bought aerotech shafts and my equipment budget is done for the year.

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What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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Equipment

Greatest Adams hybrids of all time

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It’s almost impossible that, over the past decade, you or someone you played golf with didn’t own an Adams hybrid. The fact that they can still be found in the bags of players on the PGA Tour demonstrates the kind of cult-like dedication some players have to those clubs.

They were in everyone’s bags—from low handicaps to golfers just trying to break 100. Simply, Adams was hybrids in the early-to-mid 2000s. In an age when many would still call them “cheater” or “old man” clubs, Adams pushed the envelope of design and ushered in a new era of small, workable-yet-forgiving, anti-left clubs.

Adams was also one of the first companies to do exclusive combo sets off the rack for better players with the initial Idea Pros and then later with the Idea Pro Golds. It’s a common practice now, but at the time it was revolutionary.

Here is a list of some of Adams’ all-time great hybrid designs.

Original Idea Pro – 2008

This is the one that started it all. After going through a number of tour issue prototypes leading up to the retail release, the Idea Pro had a lot of buzz, and it delivered. It wasn’t that other companies weren’t producing hybrids at the time, but the sheer popularity of the Adams outweighed what others had in the market thanks to it working its way to become the number one hybrid on the PGA Tour. It also came stock with an 80g Aldila VS Proto Hybrid shaft that was directly aimed at better players, and considering the aftermarket price of the shaft on its own, it made the Idea Pro a no brainer for those looking to replace harder-to-hit longer irons.

XTD – 2014

This was the final hybrid ever made by Adams and was packed with technology: all-titanium construction, crown, and sole slots for greater face deflection and ball speed—along with an adjustable hosel. TaylorMade had taken over ownership at this point and engineers at Adams took advantage by using the proprietary TaylorMade adjustable sleeve—this allowed for more shaft options for many golfers that had used TaylorMade hybrids in the past.

The entire XTD line from Adams was premium by design and from the driver to the hybrid, offered real-deal shafts and tight quality control. This is still a hard club to beat.

Idea XTD Super Hybrid Ti – 2012

You could argue the 2012 Super Hybrid XTD was the original bomber hybrid. Thanks to the multi-material titanium construction, it produced a higher-than-expected launch, along with exceptionally low spin. For faster players, this was a perfect control club off the tee and easily replaced a 5-wood (in the 19 degree). Don’t believe it? Check out this historic review from the GolfWRX Archives: GolfWRX.com – Adams Super Hybrid Review (2012)

Super 9031 – 2013

The Super 9031 was released the year after the original Idea Pro Blacks and featured an updated white paint job along with a technology upgrade that included both sole and crown slots for faster ball speeds compared to the original (hence the “Super” designation). It has a high toe, flatter lie angle, and open appearance from address—something better players love! Although I should attempt to be unbiased, I will admit that not only did I love these hybrids, but I still hold a place in one of my travel bags.

It’s not just me that has a sweet spot for the Super 9031, you can still find these in the bag of PGA Tour player Brian Gay.

Boxer A3 Idea – 2007

You might be wondering that after all of the others on the list, how the A3 earned its spot. Well, it’s quite simple. Just before the launch of the Idea Pro, the A3 and A3OS (oversized) were massive sellers at the retail level. The sets offered classicly shaped irons alongside easy-to-hit hybrid clubs into the longer clubs. Although never marketed towards better players, it did have a bit of a cult following to the point that even Vijay Singh was using one during the 2008 season in replacement of a 5-wood. They came stock with Grafalloy ProLaunch Red hybrid shafts and in both right and left-handed to outfit almost any player.

GolfWRXers, did you have any of these clubs? Check out the Cult Classic Clubs Discussion in the GolfWRX.com forums.

 

 

 

 

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